Sunday, June 13, 2010

Iowa City Targets Freedom of Movement

At a time when liberals around the country are criticizing Arizona’s new immigration law as encouraging discrimination and criticizing Rand Paul’s rhetorical questioning of the federal governments authority to ban discrimination by private businesses, liberals on the Iowa City council are making such discrimination mandatory. The new city ordinance bans members of a certain “lesser class” of adult legal-citizens from entering some private business establishments while allowing members of a more privileged class of citizens to enter those same businesses. So much for the supposedly "liberal" principles of fairness and equality.

The new ordinance states that anyone under 21 is barred from being in drinking establishments after 10 p.m. The problem is that people over 18 are legally adults. This is a curfew for adult Americans, restricting their rights to freedom of movement, peaceable assembly, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble[,]” even in bars. The Ninth Amendment serves notice that the people have rights too numerous to be listed. It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The people (even young adults) can do whatever they want, so long as they don’t harm others.

Article I, Sec. 1 of the Constitution of the State of Iowa states: “All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights--among which are those of enjoying […] liberty […] and pursuing and obtaining […] happiness.” [Emphasis added.] The Iowa City ordinance does not treat its young citizens as “free and equal” and infringes their rights of “enjoying liberty” and “pursuing happiness.”

By the way, “liberty” is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary thusly: “1 : the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases b : freedom from physical restraint c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e : the power of choice.” [Emphasis added.]

Although I don’t put much stock in the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Iowa City liberals generally do and it is now taught in our schools with more enthusiasm than the U.S. Declaration of Independence or Bill of Rights. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to […] liberty[.]”

Other provisions include: Article 13: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement[.]” Article 20: “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.” Article 24: “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure[.]” Article 27: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community[.]” The Iowa City ordinance violates even this, the liberals’ sacred screed.

University of Iowa (UI) students and local business owners collected thousands of signatures for a petition to put the new ordinance up for a vote by the people on the November ballot. Unfortunately, city hall invalidated fully 60% of those signatures, putting the petition well below the legally-required number of signatures to allow a vote. Since many of the signers of the petition were college students and first-time voters, they didn’t appear on the city clerks voter list, so the ordinance stands. (Signature collecting efforts are still underway.)

This law is only the latest onerous effort by the Iowa City council to curb drinking in its city, especially by under-age college students. What results have their previous efforts yielded? A new report shows that alcohol-related offenses at UI rose 53% last year, even though a UI police official said they had “not significantly increased alcohol-related enforcement.” Drunk driving citations at UI shot up 97% last year!

So, when this latest effort also fails to reduce drinking, the city council and UI will have to come up with even more restrictions upon the liberty of young adults between 18 and 20, as well as local business owners. Who knows what atrocities await as Iowa City seeks a “final solution” to its “young-adult problem.”


  1. Iowa City has a history of lashing out at U of I students, who are, of course, pretty much the reason most residents of Iowa City actually have a job. In addition to jobs, the university also brings along a world-class medical center, cultural events, sports events, etc. Admittedly, behavior in downtown Iowa City can be pretty ugly (one of the IC cab company's price list includes prices for "removal of body fluids). Still, I would think that cracking down on public intox would be more effective than banning minors from pubs. In all probability, this new law will just drive more underage drinking into apartments and dorm rooms, perhaps spreading out obnoxious behavior, but also taking away controlling influences like bartenders and bouncers.


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